Make money off your Costco membership
If you know you’re going to need one or more of the following big ticket items in the next year or so it may make sense to budget and plan to make all the purchases in one year to make the most of a Costco membership fee.
After you cover the membership fee with one or more large purchases stock up on smaller items such as gift cards and movie passes that you will use this year and the next in order to maximize your savings in the year you purchase a membership.
The first thing I do when I have a Costco membership is stock up on 20% off gift cards. If you buy $300 you’re saving $60 and voila membership is paid for!
Big ticket items:
- Electronics. A friend saved $200 on their computer compared to all other options. The same goes for televisions and other electronics. Obviously you will need to shop around. How to save money on electronics purchases.
- Tires. I was able to get my dealer to price match the lowest price I found at a shop in the suburbs. Still Costco came in only a few dollars more so Costco should always be in the mix when you’re shopping for tires.
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses. The Costco Optical Department highly rated by Consumer Reports. When I had new glasses made several years ago I saved $300 compared to all the other options I researched. They also made a mistake on the lenses (which had to be remade) and gave me a $50 Cash card for my trouble. Another friend joined Costco exclusively to save money on contact lenses and that savings covers her annual fee every year.
- Chandelier. Seems weird huh? While I was writing this I looked up and remembered that when I was looking for one for my dining room everything I found was $1,000 or more. The one I bought from Costco was less than half, has Swarovski crystals and looks like it cost much more.
- Furniture. I searched everywhere for a reasonably priced leather ottoman with storage. All other options were $1,000. Costco was $275 including tax and shipping. The first one arrived with the box damaged so I sent it back (they emailed a prepaid label). They sent me another one and gave me a $25 credit for my trouble (I tried for $50).
- Luggage. I haven’t checked prices as I have an ancient suitcase that is holding up fine but I have heard that that they offer great prices and an excellent warranty.
- Parties. If you have an anniversary or graduation party coming up the bulk quantities sold at Costco can be a very good deal when you’re cooking for a crowd particularly steaks (they sell prime beef that you can’t get at the grocery store) and seafood. Julia Child bought her meat from Costco.
- Costco travel has some great deals on hotels and travel packages. Add them into the mix when pricing your next trip.
- Wine and beer. Costco is the largest purveyor of fine wines in the U.S. Availability will vary but you can get some great deals. A friend who is a beer enthusiast tells me the beer prices and selection are excellent also. Again if you have big party coming up a big Costco booze purchase may make sense.
Other purchases to make after you’ve recouped the Membership fee:
- Gas. I don’t use much gas and driving over to the nearest Costco would erode any savings but per two people I know who fill up weekly Costco gas is .10 to .20 less per gallon and almost always the lowest price around.
- Gift cards. Every local Costco offers a different mix of discount gift cards for restaurants, like Starbucks etc. usually at least 20% off.
- Movie tickets. If they are available you can save 20% or more depending on how much movies cost in your area.
- Theater tickets. Costco has a deal with Broadway in Chicago tickets. Read about it here.
- LED Lightbulbs. I saved about $20 on my bulb purchase plus my electric bill dropped a couple dollars a month.
- Rotisserie chickens and pizza. I’ve eaten both and they’re excellent. Both are less expensive than at grocery stores and equally as good or better.
- Food Court $1.50 for a decent hot dog and a 20 ounce Pepsi product or $1.99 for a slice of pizza. You can’t beat that for a cheap meal.
- While some of us only write one or two checks a year when you need to reorder Costco checks are exponentially cheaper than the bank.
- Costco turns over its entire inventory 12 times per year. Every trip is a treasure hunt for deals. Keep a list of things you need or that will need to be replaced soon and take a spin through the aisles when you’re there. Of course never buy anything you don’t need regardless of how inexpensive it is.
I’m sure there are more things that I am forgetting. If anyone has any ideas leave a comment or email me. Thank you and enjoy your savings!